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Jesse F. Adams (1881-1964)

Jesse F. Adams, rural Middle Tennessee medical pioneer and entrepreneur, was born in Cannon County on October 19, 1881. He married Laura Elizabeth Hudson, a Texas native, in 1907, and they had nine children. Adams graduated from Vanderbilt University Medical School in 1911 and established a practice at Short Mountain in Cannon County. In 1912 he shifted his practice to Bradyville; in 1918-19 he served one-year active duty in the U.S. Army Reserve Medical Corps. In 1924 Adams moved his practice to Woodbury, the county seat, where he purchased and converted the remaining dormitory of the Baptist Female College of 1859 into his private home and office. This house is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

His vast medical contributions to this rural region included two terms as county health officer and establishing the first county hospital, the Good Samaritan Hospital, from 1933-34 during the Great Depression. Few rural Tennessee counties at that time had such modern facilities at their disposal. Adams created the hospital as his own "public works" project and accepted no direct governmental assistance. He also was a small-town example of a "civic capitalist," playing an instrumental role in Woodbury's acquiring the Armour and Company Cheese Plant in 1935. Twelve years later, he helped to convince the Colonial Shirt Corporation to establish a Woodbury factory. The Colonial factory was the county's chief industrial employer for the next forty years. Adams served as well as the president of the Bradyville Bank, the Cannon County Banking Company, and the Woodbury Bank of Commerce.

In 1950 Adams donated the hospital to the county and announced his retirement. But by 1955 he was back in practice and continued to work until his death on May 4, 1964. He and his wife Laura, who died in 1973, are buried in the Riverside Cemetery in Woodbury. Their son, Carl E. Adams, continued the family tradition of local medical service by founding both the neighboring Murfreesboro Medical Clinic and the National Health Corporation, a major medical company based in Murfreesboro managed now as National Healthcare by his sons W. Andrew Adams and Robert G. Adams.

Published » December 25, 2009 | Last Updated » January 01, 2010